Gender Wars
Review by Al Giovetti, 09/23/96
Price: $40
Genre: action more than strategy (isometric perspective real-time combat strategy game)
Release: September 1996
Developer: The 8th Day
Art:
Music:
Producer:
Programmer:
Publisher: Sales Curve Interactive
Phone: 800-292-3797
Website: www.sci.co.uk, http://gtinteractive.com
Requirements: 486DX, 33 MHz, 8 MB RAM, DOS 6.0 or Windows 95, 20 MB free hard disk space, 2X CD ROM drive.

History: The sexes are not equal. Years of differences have now resulted in all out war. It is not an issue of politics. It is not an issue of race. This is an issue of sex.

Plot: Pick a sex from a dizzying array of choices, either male or female, and embark on a game of conquest, mayhem, and cruelty to ones own species. Men are known as feeble imbeciles and women are known as simpering hystericals. This game is sexism pure and simple, with men laughing at how if you pinch womenís bums they will run forever and women laughing over kicking men in the groin.

In 2165, women and men had been feuding for decades and in order to insure peace many concessions by the men and victories by women lead to female popes and female leaders around the world. Men became second class citizens and even worse they were aware of their situation. The factions divided into two coexisting but separate societies, separate in all things but one: reproduction. Each sex was ruled by one figurehead the matriarch and patriarch and a senate composed of one half men and women presided as elected officials from members of their own sex.

In 2011, (you see in this alternative universe, time is not the only thing that is running backward.) the male-female senate witnesses a failed dual assassination attempt against the matriarch and the patriarch. The insuing investigation took years, which developed into male and female accusations of one side or the other driving a wedge between the males and the females. This bickering escalated into worldwide conflict of sex against sex. Technology assisted the rift by providing the needed reproductive habitat as long as sperm and eggs could be violently removed from the opposition, the sexes and man would survive.

Game play: You command a squad of four males or females. Come on you have to pick a sex, you know, and cross dressing is required to double the playability. Unfortunately, the most fun thing in the game is killing the enemy and civilian technicians. The gunning down of the opposite sex seems to have universal appeal. (Sick. - Ed.)

There are twelve really long missions each for men and women, and without any in progress save games, they are too lethal to be fun. A better alternative would have been more numerous smaller missions with better defined mission objectives. Some training missions would have been nice to take the edge off the learning curve. However, if you are good at and like the mayhem, you may enjoy the mission length.

Like Crusader, objects in the game blow up and are destroyed by the blessings of your passing. It is fun to blow things up and even more fun when you can see the effects of your mayhem. The ability to blow almost every item in the game to smithereens is the most fun and laudable portion of the game play.

Interface: Static three-quarter isometric (overhead oblique) view of squad level combat. With the buildings and objects often blocking the characters. Parts of the buildings, like the roof become invisible when inside buildings. Object manipulation and other commands execute imprecisely and awkwardly. These commands appear to have been implemented without sufficient play testing and refinement.

Missions and scenarios: Each mission starts at the male or female headquarters, with a visual and verbal briefing on mission objectives. Troops can train to prepare for the future, but only four may go along on the mission. Mission objectives include killing a certain percentage of enemy, stealing enemy technology, blowing up an enemy structure. Once briefed the squad is equipped with weaponry, including beam and ammunition based weapons, and the mission starts.

Combat is real-time, squad level mayhem with the oblique overhead perspective (isometric). Play as a grunt and just take orders or squad leader and call all the shots. Squad members can be set to fire at will or other standing orders to help them react quickly to developing situations.

The squad has preset drop and pick up points. Once the objectives are completed return the squad to the dust off location and return to your own base. Characters act on their own initiative or respond to orders. Lifts, sliding doors, and doorways will get you to your objectives and out again. Recharge stations scattered about the map, recharge energy needed for shields and energy weapons. Shooting security cameras will prevent detection and limit the number of enemy you will have to fight.

Artificial intelligence (AI): can be really dumb on both sides. Characters stand around while you kill them. Sentries do not hear grenades detonate. Command your squaddies or they will kill themselves with stupidity.

The internet site: Each side has its own lexicon of history, your part in the war, a place to vote for men or women told from either point of view, surveillance cameras, and libraries for both sides. Libraries on the menís side relates to beer drinking, drinking games, and why sheep are better than women. On the womenís side you have females with computers, female computer internet sites, and guides to shopping in any location on the globe.

Graphics: Cartoon-like high-resolution, two dimensional SVGA graphics masquerading as three dimensional graphics and animation looks nice but easily becomes boring.

Animation: When hit with bullets arms and legs fly. Items are very small and difficult to see

Voice actors: Cries of mercy from victims of the opposite sex get high marks from most game players, whether male or female. The speech is funny considering what they say about each other.

Music score: The background music is good.

Sound effects: Explosions, machine gun chatters, and other sounds.

Conclusion: Fun little game for sexist chauvinist pigs of both sexes.

Cheat: God mode: before you enter a mission, type "Buy a Playstation" into one of the save game slots.

Hints: Place sentry guns in front of enemy pillboxes to make sure reinforcements do not interfere with your mission. Do not pick aggressive players for stealth operations. Do not pick intelligent characters for defensive missions. Post a squad member in the halls to keep them clear while the rest of the operation goes on, similar to X-COM tactics. Train troops that have little skills and do not use them in missions until they have the skills to survive.

References:
Daniel Morris, PC Games, volume 3, number 9, September, 1996, pg. 84, B, (85%).
Sales Curve Gender Wars Site: http://www.sci.co.uk/gender/mindex.html
Gender Wars, http://hyperactive.com/games/reviews/gender/, (80%).
PC Power (91%)
Steve Bauman, http://www.cdmag.com/action_vault/gender_wars_review/page1.html, 2/5 (40%-70%)
Monroe Bosher, http://www.gamespot.com/strategy/gender/,66%.
Glenn Broderick, Computer Player, volume 3, number 4, September, 1996, 7/10, (70%).
Steve Bauman, Computer Games Strategy Plus, issue 71, October, 1996, 2.5/5, (50%-75%).